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Game #69 Preview: Arizona at Calgary

Coyotes get set for another pivotal game as they continue their road trip tonight against the Flames

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Game Preview

GAME #69: ARIZONA (33-27-8) at CALGARY (35-26-7)

7:00 PM MST - Scotiabank Saddledome | Calgary, AB

TV: Fox Sports Arizona Plus (Matt McConnell, Tyson Nash, Todd Walsh)

Radio: Fox Sports 910 AM Phoenix (Bob Heethuis)

Referees: Graham Skilliter #24, Dan O'Rourke #9

Linesmen: Trent Knorr #63, Bevan Mills #53

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ARIZONA AT CALGARY

Consequential points are again up for grabs as the Coyotes continue their three-game road trip tonight with a date against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome.

This marks the final of the teams' four regular season meetings.

And there's plenty on the line.

"We've been lately in playoff mode," said head coach Rick Tocchet. "You have to [be], there's not a lot of room out there and you've got to find your ice. Everybody's backchecking hard, everybody's in front of the net, it's playoff hockey."

The Coyotes are coming off of a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night in a game that ended in a frenzy, the teams combining for five goals in the third period.

"I think we had a pretty good game in Vancouver, hopefully we can build on it," defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "We know how important these next two games are for us, so it starts today here in Calgary."

The Flames are coming off of a come-from-behind 3-2 overtime victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday. Calgary has won two-straight games and is tonight playing the second of a five-game home stand.

"This is one of the better teams of finding that guy in front," Tocchet said of the Flames. "Tkachuk is one of the best net-front guys there is, they've got guys that aren't scared to get to the net. Giordano, great player, he finds those guys, he shoots the puck so much. Defensively, you've got to make sure you box out and you've got to get on their defense quickly. You can say that about every team, but especially this team."

Darcy Kuemper will make his second-straight start, Tocchet confirmed following the optional morning skate. No other changes are expected to be made to the lineup the team used on Wednesday in Vancouver.

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THREE THINGS

WHERE WE'RE AT: Following victories from the Nashville Predators, Minnesota Wild, and Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday, the top five teams in the Western Conference wild-card playoff race are separated by only one point. The Flames occupy third-place in the Pacific Division with 77 points, while the Blackhawks (70) are now only four points back of the below group.

GOTTA GET THREE: The Coyotes are coming off their eighth four-goal outing of the season on Wednesday night. The team has had striking success when scoring four goals (including OT/SO) this year, and for obvious reasons; they're 22-3-3 in such games. Overall, the Coyotes are 32-4-3 this year when scoring three or more goals (including OT/SO) in a game, which seems to be the common win/loss dividing line. The Coyotes have a team goals-against average of 2.59, which ranks third in the league.

CALLING ON KUEMPER: Darcy Kuemper will start back-to-back games for the first time since returning from injury. He's coming off a 36-save performance in Wednesday's 4-2 win over the Canucks and enters the night with the second-best save percentage (.929) and goals-against average (2.16) among all qualified goaltenders. Kuemper has posted a shutout in his previous two starts against the Flames, stopping all 37 shots faced earlier this year on November 16, and all 30 shots faced on March 7 of last season. He has never surrendered a goal to the Flames in a Coyotes uniform.

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LAST TIME AROUND

DECEMBER 10, 2019 - ARIZONA (2) vs. CALGARY (5)

The Coyotes fell into a deep deficit they were unable to recover from during the teams' previous meeting on December 10 at Gila River Arena, suffering a 5-2 loss to the Flames.

Calgary gained a commanding 4-0 lead before Jakob Chychrun connected with the Coyotes' first goal in the final moments of the second period. Phil Kessel scored in the third as the team traded tallies.

Antti Raanta made 24 saves in the loss.

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NUMBER TO KNOW

TWENTY-FIVE (25)

Lawson Crouse continues to add to what has been trending toward a career-year. The 22-year-old power forward matched his career-high mark for points registered in a single season after netting what would prove to be the game-winning goal in Wednesday's victory over Vancouver.

Crouse's 25 points (15G, 10A) match his total from last season (11G, 14A), which he amassed in 81 games.

Entering the night, his 15 goals rank fifth on the Coyotes roster.

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QUICK HITS

  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson leads the Coyotes in road scoring with 22 points (6G, 16A).
  • The Flames have posted the second-most third period comebacks (10) in the NHL this season.
  • The Coyotes' 437 penalty minutes are the fewest in the NHL.
  • Matthew Tkachuck (22G, 35A) and Johnny Gaudreau (17G, 40A) co-lead the Flames in scoring with 57 points.
  • Christian Dvorak has nine points (4G, 5A) in 11 career games against the Flames.
  • Mark Giordano has 37 points (11G, 26A) in 49 career games against the Coyotes.
  • The Coyotes are 13-1-2 this season when Carl Soderberg scores a goal.
  • Arizona owns an 84-93-20-5 all-time record against Calgary.

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Lead Photo Credit: Gerry Thomas - NHLI via Getty Images // Footer Photo Credit: Derek Leung - Getty Images // GIF Highlight Footage: Fox Sports Arizona

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